2010 Yearbook

r e v i e w 13 Chairman’s Review Dave Chetwyn, IHBC Chair This will be my last yearbook report as Chair of the IHBC. I am due to stand down in June. The time has passed quickly since being elected in 2007. The role has been enjoyable, challenging, stimulating, frustrating and entertaining; in short, character-building. The world, the built environment sector and the Institute have all changed appreciably during this time. Over the past two years, the economy shifted from a period of prolonged growth to the deepest recession in living memory. The western banking system teetered on the edge of oblivion, and in some instances tipped over the edge. The construction sector collapsed, especially house building. This has inevitably impacted on heritage regeneration projects and heritage jobs all around the country. Climate change became more firmly embedded in policy, legislation and practice and this is changing the way in which we think and work. Social networking, energy security, terrorism and Jedwood have also brought about new challenges and opportunities. The IHBC has also changed. Last year marked a milestone for the institute, with the membership increasing to more than 2,000 for the first time. This represents a 30 per cent increase over 30 months. The nature of that membership has changed too, with roughly similar proportions now being from the public and private sectors (see pie chart, p9). The overwhelming majority of members are still from built environment and place- making disciplines, with chartered planners, architects and surveyors accounting for three-quarters of the membership. Interestingly, there is also a growing proportion of members who have chosen to specialise earlier on in their career, obtaining a specific conservation qualification at the outset rather than going down another associated professional route first. In response to our multi- disciplinary nature, our institute has developed stronger links to other professional bodies where we have common membership, working jointly with the RTPI, RIBA, RICS and others. We also became a member the National Planning Forum. Our profile and media presence has also improved, including interviews on national radio and coverage in a range of publications. In terms of influencing and lobbying, we have shifted gear, improving our links with government departments, devolved governments, and a range of ministers extending to first minister level. We have also developed other influencing activities and have been represented on a range of steering and stakeholder groups. We have responded to a wide range of consultations, and given evidence to parliamentary select committees. These activities have made a real difference to outcomes in many instances. The establishment of IHBC Enterprises, a trading arm, has allowed us to run projects, conferences and events, including our Annual School (which had record attendance last year). This allows us to carry out business activity that has a genuine connection with the aims of the IHBC and the sector. IHBC now employs more staff and this has allowed the delivery of improved member services, including a streamlined membership application process, a better website, research to support conservation services, a wider range of CPD events, authoritative consultation responses, and a web-based NewsBlog that is used by many as their key source of conservation information. The Historic Environment Service Provider Recognition scheme, HESPR, has been introduced for private consultants specialising in conservation. The companies recognised through the service use the IHBC membership of one of their employees as both a standard and a mechanism for quality control. HESPR is the third most popular destination on the IHBC website, after the home and jobs pages, and we hope it will become an Dave Chetwyn leading a meeting of Council at the Cardiff School with (from the left) Charles Shapcott, John Preston and Seán O’Reilly: thirst-making work! (Photo: Fiona Newton)